Date of Award

8-2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Tanya Heflin

Second Advisor

Mike Sell

Third Advisor

Heather Powers

Abstract

This dissertation investigates the representation of agency in twentieth and twenty-first- century feminist dystopian novels, television, and video games. Through drawing on media theory, feminism, agency theory, and feminist dystopian theory and criticism, I examine Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Octavia Butler’s Dawn, HBO’s Westworld, Double Fine Production’s Broken Age, and Ubisoft’s Beyond Good and Evil. Specifically, I consider how the representation of agency changes depending on the medium because novels, television, and video games have disparate affordances and limitations, which shape how the reader, viewer, or player understands agency. These particular feminist dystopian texts demonstrate how female characters often comply with gender-based oppression in order to resist it, which novels, television, and video games convey in disparate ways that are unique to the medium. I term this pattern in twentieth and twenty-first-century feminist dystopian texts a Subversive Narrative Structure, which is defined by a female protagonist who complies with gender-based oppression in order to resist it in ways that depend on the medium and the situation that the protagonist finds herself in. This project seeks to expand scholarship’s understanding of agency through exploring how women resist gender-based oppression in feminist dystopian novels, television, and video games in exceedingly complex and nuanced ways, which is supposed to empower real-world women to resist patriarchal corruption in individualized ways as well.

Available for download on Saturday, August 01, 2020

Share

COinS